Efficiency is an essential asset of any database, but unless you take steps to proactively pursue this, you might find that performance is less than ideal as a result.
These 5 tips are definitely worth heeding if you want to knock a suboptimal database into shape without tearing your hair out in the process.
Identify the issue through testing
Before you can improve database efficiency, you need to actually know what is causing the complications you are facing in the first place.
This guide to SQL server performance tuning does a good job of outlining the means by which you can pinpoint the various obstacles that need to be overcome.
Upgrade the hardware
Even if your database is immaculately authored and orchestrated on a software level, clever coding can only get you so far; at some point you will find that the hardware is the bottleneck to performance.
There are of course a number of hardware components to consider upgrading, including the memory and the I/O. However, the biggest gains may be found by moving to a more powerful CPU, especially in the case of slowdown occurring due to the sheer number of requests that need to be processed on average.
The good news is that with a price war going on between the two major CPU makers on the block, it is possible to get a good deal on both consumer and enterprise-grade hardware.
Invest in more storage
Just as a CPU can be overwhelmed during peak periods of use, there are limits to the amount of capacity that a storage solution can handle, especially if large quantities of data need to be written and read constantly.
Efficiency can be boosted if you utilize modern storage solutions to spread the workload across a larger number of drives, rather than relying on smaller clusters which will become saturated more quickly. This can also improve reliability, avoid catastrophic data loss and sidestep costly downtime.
Today you also have the choice of working with traditional spinning platter hard drives, or making the leap to solid state storage. The former is more affordable and widely available, while the latter has speed and durability on its side.
Address indexing issues
If your hardware is not overburdened then your database’s approach to indexing may need looking at to improve efficiency.
You need to take a balanced approach to this, ensuring that data is indexed in a way that makes it quick to retrieve when needed, without going too far. Unique and non-unique indexing can be leveraged to your advantage, although this takes some skill and experience to master.
Roll out updates
While you could delve into the nuts and bolts of your database and try to make tweaks to performance yourself, a faster and more efficient alternative may be to simply update the version of the database you are using to the latest offered by the developer.
Optimizations and improvements to efficiency, as well as a number of other augmentations and enhancements, are generally to be expected from updates as and when they are made available. Of course, it is also worth noting that there may be rare instances in which specific queries are hobbled in the wake of an update, rather than improved, but this small likelihood should not be enough to put you off.
Ultimately you will likely find that your best option for ameliorating database efficiency will involve a multipronged plan of attack, rather than being a one-off quick fix. And indeed it pays to keep a close eye on performance over time to identify performance issues as soon as possible so that they can be remedied.
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